I am in the process of editing this week's edition of The Chauncey DeVega Show. It features a solid conversation about Star Trek and questions of gender, sexuality, and race.
[I also have to find a way to make Karl Marx interesting to a room full of underclassmen who were born after the end of the Cold War and think all of that "Communism stuff" is so unimportant...little do they realize how right and correct Marx actually was.]
I also believe in trying to "punch up" and not "punch down". Thus, while I may not be able to match the production qualities of great shows on NPR and elsewhere, I know that I can provide a venue for interesting and smart conversations with interesting and smart people who are doing interesting and smart things--as is the informal tagline for The Chauncey DeVega Show.
As a fan of the podcasting genre/format, I also listen to quite a few shows both for entertainment and learning purposes.
In the interest of sharing--and also soliciting some of your suggestions for what podcasts to either add to the blogroll or to mention on The Chauncey DeVega Show--here are some recent podcast episodes that I have enjoyed.
1. Norman Lear is one of my personal heroes. Mr. Lear is also one of the folks who with little effort or intent reminds everyone that yes, he is one of the smartest people in any room. In this conversation with Mark Maron, Lear talks about growing up with narcissistic parents, surviving World War 2, breaking into Hollywood, the colorline, and offers the genius observation about how Christmas is a barometer for how Americans turned into consumers instead of citizens.
And of course, Marc Maron's podcast is a gem (the Louis C.K. interview is considered by some to be the best podcast moment of all time) as is his TV show on Netflix.
2. Snap Judgement is an obligatory listen. The episode "Proof", and its story about a man who is falsely imprisoned for committing the crime of rape, and then has to confess to it in order to get paroled, is one hell of a moral and ethical conundrum.
Now where is the movie?
3. Love + Radio has produced some gems. Street harassment is problematic. Love + Radio's conversation with Jerome Master, an older brother from Chicago who offers up some guidelines and insights about the types of women he "hollers at" and the various informal rules and ethics about chatting up the ladies is damn funny and insightful.
Love + Radio's "Sesquipedalian" explores boxing, organized crime, fight fixing, and the fascinating and nebulous subculture of those who are part of "low-life culture". This episode's insights into the controversy surrounding one of Mike Tyson's return bouts is a must listen if you are a fight fan.
4. I love professional wrestling. When I try to explain this lifelong hobby to those not of the family, I focus on how the sport is improvisational theater mixed with athleticism and classic storytelling tropes that can trace their roots back to Shakespeare and antiquity. Professional wrestling is also compelling because of the fascinating and odd personalities who are drawn to the business.
Professional wrestling also provides an amazingly sharp insight into changing American social norms--especially around race and gender. Colt Cabana's conversation with New Jack is surreal and wonderful.
New Jack is real people folks. He was one of the most popular wrestlers in the now defunct ECW federation. New Jack was/is a bounty hunter. New Jack has killed people. New Jack has also done amazing story-lines in racist Southern towns where he had to be protected by the local police. New Jack is also very wise, street smart, and damn funny.
What podcasts are you fond of? Any suggestions for good listening that can insulate you from the mouth-breathing troglodytes and their antics on public transportation?